It’s no mystery in the digital marketing community, but the current version of Google Analytics (Universal Analytics) will disappear very soon.
A new version of the popular tracking tool called Google Analytics 4 has been developed over the past three years.
For several months now, Google has been recommending that you set up a double tracking system in parallel, mainly to familiarize yourself with this new tool.
For the followers of the previous version, many features have simply disappeared.
This is the reason, implementing dual tracking is a very good thing, especially to visualize the possible differences in results between the two tools.
Google is working in an improvised way on the evolution of this new tool, it updates it very regularly and offers more and more possibilities.
Here is a list that summarizes the latest known updates of Google Analytics 4 now available since September 2022.
The latest updates and new features in GA4
Launch of new (and well-known) dimensions and metrics
Even though the measurement model has changed from page views, sessions, and visitors to interactions on GA4, some metrics are still very important, especially for performance measurement.
Google has remedied this problem by making metrics used in the previous version available as a priority.
The bounce rate appears (finally) in the GA4 metrics. As a reminder, it measures the number of users who visit a page without interacting.
This is in contrast to the engagement rate, which is a measure of the number of people coming to the site divided by the number of interactions they make.
UTM Term and UTM Content
UTMs are used a lot, especially for campaign tracking. Two new UTM have just been added:
- utm_term which allows highlighting which are the paid keywords that brought the traffic.
- utm_content helps to differentiate two places in the same content. For example, two links in the same newsletter can be tracked independently.
Filtering in reporting
Users with access to the Google Analytics 4 property can now set up a filter to see only a certain part of the traffic. For example, filtering traffic exclusively from Android phones.
However, once the person leaves the reporting, Google Analytics 4 will cancel the filter.
For Publishers (and above) property, they can create custom reports that are automatically filtered.
For example, two separate custom reports can be created. One report with a filter that only shows data from mobile devices, and another custom report that only shows data from stationary devices like computers.
Audiences in Google Analytics 4
It is now possible to create Analytics audiences and integrate them into the Google Analytics 4 API.
In addition, if you have entered the industry category in which your site or business falls, you will be able to receive audience suggestions in the audience creation tool.
This feature is especially relevant when it comes to importing audiences into Google Ads and then using them to target your campaigns.
Data driven attribution model
Google has improved its attribution model so that it can be activated even if the number of conversions is low. Previously, a minimum number of conversions was required for the data-driven attribution model to be usable.
Changes in terms of internal search privacy
Concerned about privacy, Google has improved its internal search results displayed in GA4.
Based on data modelling, and in order to protect the anonymity of users, Google is ensuring that only search terms that have reached a certain search volume on Google are displayed.
Simplifying measurement with Google Tag
You can now manage all google GMP (Google marketing platform) products with a single gtag.js tag.
This means that if you use Google Analytics and want to connect the conversion pixel to Google ad manager, you don’t need to add a new tag to your site code.
A specific Google tag interface (like Google Tag Manager) allows you to add Google products easily.
This tag is only accessible via Google Ads or Google Analytics 4.
What are the priorities for migrating from Universal Analytics to GA4?
If you have not yet migrated to GA4, there is still time to get started!
Here are the priorities to put in place:
Priority 1 – Set up a dual-tracking
You need to install Google Analytics 4 in parallel with your Google Analytics ua integration (Univeral Analytics). Nothing very complicated, you go to the Google Analytics interface and follow the migration step by step.
Priority 2 – Activate user ID and Google Signals
Since Google Analytics 4 no longer collects IP addresses, the only way to identify a user across their various devices (Mobile, Computer) is through User ID.
Therefore, it would be important for you to activate the latter. Mainly to ensure consistency in data collection.
However, both the User ID and the Google Signals are questionable in terms of compliance with the RGPD. For this reason, you should first check with your legal department that the use of Google Signals and user ID is compliant.
Priority 3 – Implementation of a measurement protocol
This protocol allows you to measure interactions of a device that is connected to the internet. But which does not have a web interface, an application.
You will have to manually set up a data collection system. This data will then be sent to Google Analytics 360.
Priority 4 – Setting up a GA4 bidding strategy on Google Ads
Just as with Google Universal Analytics, you can integrate the conversions recorded in GA4 directly into Google Ads.
This way you can optimize campaigns based on the different conversions measured on your website. “Downloading an application, watching a video or making a purchase”
Google Analytics 4 is constantly evolving. Whether you are a fan of Universal Analytics or reluctant to migrate to a new measurement system, on Google’s side there is no alternative.
Therefore, if you want to stay in the Google ecosystem, you should implement GA4 quickly. You will be able to familiarize yourself with the tool as often as possible.
New features appear every month and allow you to explore, understand and use the collected data better and better.
If you are not yet sure whether to migrate to GA4 and you need advice on your web analytics strategy, don’t hesitate to contact me.
I will be happy to give you advice based on my experience with Google Analytics in general. And, more specifically, on your concerns about the different versions of the tracking tool.
Finally, if you want to know the latest news and updates on digital marketing for websites in Switzerland, I invite you to subscribe to my newsletter!
I’m a digital marketing consultant with 20 years of experience in digital growth in Switzerland.
I assist small and medium-sized businesses in enhancing their online presence and generating more leads.
Based on research and data-driven approach, I create digital marketing strategies and effectively implements them.
I also train marketers in SEO, SEA (Online Advertising), and Web analytics to enhance their skills.